Thursday, January 22, 2015

Oh, it's been sooooo long!


I had vowed that I would blog more frequently in 2015,
and I've gotten off to a bad start.
As some of you may know, we had our dear Barker
euthanized on January 5th.
He was 13 years old,
his health went into a downward spiral very rapidly
while we were at the beach,
and he slipped away peacefully in my arms.
Bosco, our 3-year old standard,
misses his big brother a LOT,
(not that we don't!), but we are confident that he will do better in time.

I've been keeping myself occupied (when 'others' have not!)
with a bit of fiber catch-up.
I had started making knitting project bags for members of my knitting group
way back in September.
You may recall that they gifted me with a 
lovely knitted afghan about a year ago when I was sick.
So, I wanted to thank them, and the project bags were the best way I knew how to do so.
I'm using only my hand-dyes,
and it's been fun!
Here I am sewing away on one bag:

(note the cute pin cushion made for me by my cousin Eva)

In listening to the Knitmore Girls Podcast,
Jasmin mentioned that they are using light colored fabric to line their bags -
the better to see the yarn inside!
I hadn't thought about that,
but it does make sense.
So I dusted off my hand-carved 'ball of yarn stamp',


inked up my brayer, 


and away we went, stamping lining fabric!


Here are a few of the finished bags:


I still have a several more to make,
but it's fun.

And I'm knitting, knitting, knitting!
We had a cold snap here a few weeks ago,
so I got this hat done just in time!


I'm also knitting two sweaters.
and the other is 
Both are great fun, and keep me alert!

And one last thing:
I am taking a fantastic Photoshop Elements class
with the Pixeladies!
What a fabulous class and format.
Those girls sure do know how to teach!

I hope you are well
and that your 2015 has started off nicely!
Thanks for stopping by,
and I hope to be back sooner
with some actual surface design work to share!

Peace!








Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year


We are at the beach,
celebrating the end of 2014
and the beginning of a bright and beautiful new year!

Our days and nights are splendid,
the food is fantastic,
and the knitting is, well,
knitting along!


Best wishes to you and yours for a safe, happy, and healthy
2015!

(me with my new dark, curly, and superfine hair-
and a ton more than I had a year ago!)

Thanks for stopping by!

Peace!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays


Decorating cut out sugar cookies is a much loved family tradition
that stems back to my husband's childhood.


We use his mother's now antique cookie cutters and her recipe,
as we have for over 40 years,
and we have a marvelous time!

Maggie, now two, is enjoying this festivity too!


This is the first year that Charlie,4, has really gotten into it:
sifting the confectioner's sugar for the icing
and helping to measure and add all of the icing ingredients
as I attempt to whip them to utter perfection.
Of course, he loved checking the decorative sugars,
just to make sure they were ok for the rest of us to consume!


This past Sunday, we went with the kids to visit Santa.
There was a little time to kill while we patiently waited our turn:


Maggie loves watching and doing all her big brother does.

We rode the little train around Santa's village,
and Maggie was totally mesmerized.
Oh the wonder of this time of year through the eyes of
a two-year-old!


Wishing you all the best for a joyous holiday season,
and a happy and healthy 2015!



PEACE!





Saturday, December 06, 2014

Brand New Bag


I have been playing around with a new concept in small bags,
and I'm pleased with the results you see above.
The body is made from layers of needle-felted wool and my own 
hand-dyed silks,
The purse is also hand embroidered and beaded.
It has a front and back section, and measures roughly 
6" wide x 7-1/2" tall.
The strap is long: 6" x 72", and is actually 
a hand-dyed silk charmeuse skinny scarf,
so it is buttery soft around the neck.
The scarf can, of course, be removed and worn alone as a 
colorful accessory.

Here is the back:


a detail shot of the embroidery and beading:


....and a selfie of the purse in action:



I will be offering these for sale in the boutique at

Thanks for stopping by!

Peace to you and yours!


Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Where to begin.....

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words,
so I will let the following images do most of the talking.

I am well, and hope that you are too!
We've been experiencing some crazy weather:
bitterly cold for a few days and then unseasonably warm 
(like today).
I don't know what to think of it, 
so I'm sure the outdoor vegetation doesn't either.

We're in the midst of celebrations:
grandchildren's birthdays and the holidays.
It's a busy time.
I'm trying to find spare time to feed my inner soul with my art.

Below is a closeup shot of a scarf that I've just finished dyeing.
I love it!
It's a silk/cotton blend and took the colors beautifully.


here's another shot of it:


C and I were invited to attend Grandparents' Day at 
Charlie's school.
What an honor!!
His class sang "You are my sunshine" on stage,
hence his sunshine hat.
There was a book fair that followed,
so we had fun exploring new books with him....
and of course we came home with a bundle!


I actually DID complete all 24 of the Advent Stockings
in time for December 1st!
....and I enjoyed it too!


I learned a lot and got to practice many things:
toe-up socks, afterthought heels, stranded color work, etc.



I'm working on several needle-felted bags,
and hope to complete a few this week.
Here's an example of what's happening:


I love the process...just need to find the time!

I completed the butterfly hat for Maggie's birthday -
just in time, as her party is this coming Saturday.
It's really cute, don't you think?
I cannot believe she will be two already!
Slow down, Maggie!!!


Speaking of knitting,
I also finished my Banana Leaf Shawl today.
It's about time, since I cast-on in August!


We enjoyed lunch at Souper Jenny in Decatur last Saturday.
This was framed and hanging on the wall.
It is wonderful:



remember: only one to a customer!

Thanks for stopping by!

Peace to you and yours!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

In a Tangle



In a Tangle is a pretty apt name for this post and my life of late!
I had a bit of minor surgery six days ago,
and it's taking more time than I would like for my body to recover.
So, all of those things that I planned to do this week
are a bit mushed together, making me anxious.

I like life much better when it looks 
neat and tidy like this:


After I finally wound up that nasty, knotty skein of Perle Coton,
I got busy on Painted Buckeye again.




This block may be just about finished,
and now that I've finally figured out where I'm going with the entire piece,
it shouldn't take much longer - if I can find some free time!

and it makes a lot of sense to me.
I realize that I need to show up 'on the job' every single day -
but I don't always have that luxury.
Today I did and the work was fruitful and very satisfying.

When I did not have the energy to 'show up' earlier in the week,
I sat in my chair, looking at our beautiful lake
and the changing leaves,
and I knit.
That is always satisfying to me!

Our grandson Charlie's birthday is coming up very soon,
and with crochet help from my friend Roberta (for the eyes),
I have finally finished his 'froggy' hat.
I think he will love it!


I also finished these butterfly mitts for his sister Maggie,
whose birthday falls in early December.


For some unknown reason, 
when I arrived home from the hospital,
I thought it would be a splendid idea to begin knitting these lovely fingerless mitts:


I'd had the yarn (yummy Malabrigo) and the pattern (Verdure by Alana Dakos)
for over a year, and I just couldn't wait one more minute to cast on!
I love listening to Alana's podcasts.
She sounds so very, very sweet,
but while I was trying to follow her graph for this mitt,
she turned into the devil!  LOL
just kidding - really!
remember, there was anesthesia involved!!
While I did finish the left mitt (without any mistakes!!),
I've yet to cast on its companion.

......and here's why:

while still under the influence of the afore-mentioned  anesthesia,
I flipped through one of my favorite catalogues,
chock-full of Christmas gifts.
Handknit Advent Stockings caught my eye.
They piqued my interest: $79.00!!!
"Why", thought I, "I can make those myself
and they will be soooooo cute!....
and cost lots less too!"
Charlie & Maggie will love opening a new sock every day!

Did I realize that there are 24 days in Advent?
I think so.
Did I know that the red and green yarns (not to mention the white)
in my stash were not Christmassy enough for me,
so I had to go to my favorite local yarn shop to make a purchase,
which also included more needles?
No

Our daughter said that she knew the grandkids would love the socks,
but "Once you come out of your anesthesia high Mom,
don't feel badly if you decide this project is too overwhelming."

So, here it is November 13th:


I've actually finished two more and another two 
almost finished - well, almost halfway finished!
I do love them though!

The Japanese Maples are gorgeous right now.
This one is just outside of our livingroom,
between the house and the lake,
so it smacks you in the eye everytime you enter the room.



We have three in our yard:
two red and a cut-leaf variety near the front door
that is a brilliant orange.
Ah, Autumn!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Peace to you and yours!















Monday, November 03, 2014

Around the World Blog Post

When my friend Gerrie Congdon emailed and asked if I'd like to take part in the Around the World Blog Post, I was honored.  You see, I've admired Gerrie both as a person and an artist for a very long time.  I first became aware of her uber talented daughter Lisa (not that Gerrie and her other daughter Stephanie are any less talented, but I found Lisa first!), but then when Lisa casually made reference to her Mom, I had to check out her blog, and as it is said, that's all she wrote!  We have since met in person at least twice, and we've roomed together at SDA conferences.  Gerrie is a very dedicated SDA member and if you go to a conference, you will certainly meet her there!  But her work and her warm and outgoing personality are what first drew me in, and made me a fan.  Her choice of colors is always top notch, as is her layout and presentation.  And she and I are just insanely crazy at times when we get together, which is a blessing in this world of ours.

So, if you aren't familiar with the format of the 
Around the World Blog Post, here goes:


What am I working on now:
My current piece is called Painted Buckeye and it is based on a series of prints that I made last Spring, using one of my Gelli Print Plates.  I had discovered the Painted Buckeye tree on our property while it was blooming, and because I didn’t know what it was, I identified it in my tree book.  I liked its blossom and the shape of the leaves, so I spent a glorious afternoon printing them in various colors on yards and yards of cotton.  The British fiber artist Cas Holmes had just spent a wonderful week visiting with us here, and I was feeling the influence of some of her work.  Cas then went to San Diego to visit and teach with my friend Jane LaFazio.  I feel that Jane’s work also influences me quite heavily. So now I’m spending hours and hours happily stitching on all of my fabulous monoprints, both by machine and hand.  At some point I will join all of the pieces together - I do have a plan!

After I've chosen my color palette, I hand-dye my perle coton and embroidery floss, and then figure out what stitches I'll use.

Above are several pieces on my design wall.  Both hand and machine stitching have been incorporated here and below.



Pieces like this just bring me happiness - it matters not what becomes of them.

How does my work differ from others of its genre:
I normally work on my own hand-dyed silks (as opposed to cotton), piecing them together and then quilting them, or simply applying them to a layer of eco felt through fusing, a la my mentor Jane Dunnewold.  That said, I have found that I am then limited in the venues that will show these pieces (as three layers stitched together is the customary requirement).  Until that changes, I am now doing more hand and machine quilting/stitching.  At the same time, I am reminded of Mahatma Gandhi's quote: 
"We must be the change we wish to see in the world".
  

Why do I write/create what I do?
I have to!  I long ago discovered that I am a ‘maker’ - even way back in the days of the looped pot holders.  It just gives me such satisfaction!  I am not one to sit around, I really don’t like to shop, and I receive such joy when I am creating.  In the evenings after dinner, we like to watch a few favorite TV shows, baseball games or movies.  If I’m not doing hand embroidery, then I’m knitting….because otherwise I’ll fall asleep!  I cannot just sit.

How does my writing/creating process work?
I am heavily influenced by the natural world around me.  I have two large dogs who thankfully require long daily walks, so I am out with them enjoying the out of doors a lot!  We also live on a very beautiful and peaceful lake, where I spend idyllic hours kayaking.  So nature is always sending me subconscious messages.  I’m a very light sleeper, often waking at 3:00 AM with the vision of a piece of art or a color scheme running through my mind.  This vision then leads me to thinking about the steps required to create such a piece.  At that point, I really should get up and jot down notes, and even make a  sketch in one of my sketchbooks, but I don’t - I rely upon my memory, which isn’t always a great idea!  Later that day I will sketch it and refine it, then photograph my work as it progresses, which leads to more refining.  

Two of my fiber friends have graciously agreed to carry on the torch in the Around the World Blog Post.  
  
Maggi Birchenough is a British textile artist
whom I have never met in person, but feel like I've known forever - and we would be fast friends if she lived nearby.
She is very active in SAQA, in fact she is the new co-rep for Europe and the Middle East region.  I love the way Maggi manipulates her own wonderful photographs, layers them on fabric, and makes glorious quilted art.  And to top it off: she knits!!!
Martha Myers is an Atlanta fiber artist whom I met during Cas Holmes's workshop here last Spring.  She is a fantastic seamstress, and also a very talented artist. I will never forget how Cas challenged Martha to design and construct a wearable top out of a piece of art she (Martha) had created in class.  Within hours it was completed and Cas wore it that evening during her presentation.  
Very impressive! 

Look for their Around the World Blog Posts next Monday, November 10th.

Thanks so much for stopping by!

.....and if you haven't already done soplease visit all of the links I've listed above, but most especially the blogs of 
Gerrie Congdon, Maggie Birchenough, and Martha Myers.

Peace to you and yours!